The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is capable of some remarkable white papers, ones that really clarify what “good” metadata is, how to do it well, and why. The best part of that is members of the Canadian publishing supply chain (including BookNet Canada) participate in BISG committees and our industry collectively benefits from this work. For a variety of reasons, scale not the least, Canadian publishers typically do a better job at implementing these recommendations than our American counterparts. So good on us!
On June 30, BISG published an exceptionally useful white paper: Recommendations for Citing Educational Standards and Objectives in Metadata.
This is a substantially updated and widened revision of the 2014 Recommendations for Citing Common Core State Standards in ONIX. If you’re not familiar with Common Core, here’s a link to a Wikipedia page, but essentially it’s a governmental initiative to develop a common curriculum for K-12 students in the US. I’m not aware of any implications for companies selling to schools in Canada, but Canadian publishers who sell into the US through its educational wholesalers are being asked to supply Common Core values for that market.
That being said, this white paper covers much more than Common Core and one of the support pieces is a well developed list of key curriculum concepts: an Educational Taxonomy. BISG has a dedicated webpage for quick reference.
The value of this list should be quickly obvious to any publisher supporting the educational market in Canada. Can you imagine that list coupled with some other standardized values? You could create curriculum-referenced, finely-grained lists specific to age and reading levels to your heart’s content. And that’s what makes this new white paper so useful: it lists the other standardized values you would use to do this, and explains how to do it well:
- Educational Taxonomy
- CCSS Dot Notation
- BISAC Subject Headings
- Additional Recommended Audience Metadata:
- Reading Levels (Text Complexity)
- Interest Levels
- Grade Levels
- Age Levels
But here’s the quandary: this metadata would be a fabulous resource for Canadian educators, librarians, parents, and who knows what other stakeholders. The only things we’re lacking are knowledge and use, but because this was developed in the US to support Common Core (CCSS, or Common Core State Standards, in the list above), there’s no widespread acknowledgment of the need to do something with this in Canada.
This blog post is hoping to start that conversation. Any Canadian publisher, wholesaler, or institution who services the educational market should review this document and think about what use they could make of quality metadata like this. Ask your trading partners and clients what use they could make of it. Develop a business case for quality metadata to support the educational market in Canada.
And as part of that, let BookNet Canada know if you want to use this resource—we promote the use of metadata in the Canadian market, but we’re guided by actual use and stated needs.